How did the smallest colony and smallest state in the union became the largest American participant in the slave trade?
Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island, joins us to explore the history of Rhode Island and New England’s involvement with slavery.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the African-American Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island, joins us to explore the history of Rhode Island and its intimate involvement with slavery.
During our exploration, Christy reveals what the business of slavery was and how it differed from the institution of slavery; How Rhode Island became involved with slavery and the slave trade; And what life was like for free and enslaved African Americans in Rhode Island.
What You’ll Discover
- The business of slavery and how it differs from the institution of slavery
- The early history of Rhode Island
- How Rhode Island became involved with slavery and the slave trade
- Transition from Native American slavery to African slavery
- Work enslaved Rhode Islander’s performed
- Daily life of Rhode Island slaves
- How Rhode Island came to participate in the slave trade
- The American Revolution in Rhode Island
- Why African Americans and slaves volunteered for the First Rhode Island regiment during the War for Independence
- Rhode Island’s simultaneous post-revolutionary commitment to emancipation and the business of slavery
- Life in Rhode Island for free African Americans
- Free African Americans’ interactions with the business of slavery
- The Free African Union Society
- The Dorr Rebellion
- Commemorating Rhode Island and northern participation in slavery
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Christy Clark-Pujara
- Christy’s UW-Madison webpage
- Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island
- Episode 008: Greg O’Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America
- Episode 036: Abby Swingen, Competing Visions of Empire
- Episode 083: Jared Hardesty, Unfreedom: Slavery in Colonial Boston
- Episode 089: Jessica Millward, Slavery & Freedom in Early Maryland
- Bonus: Lonnie Bunch, History & Historians in the Public (National Museum of African American History and Culture)
In your opinion, what might have happened if Rhode Island had found a different way to enrich her economy than by participating in the slave trade? How would the history and development of slavery in North America and the United States have been different?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?
Enjoy the Podcast?
Why Not Subscribe?
Ratings & Reviews
If you enjoy this podcast, please give it a rating and review.
Positive ratings and reviews help bring Ben Franklin's World to the attention of other history lovers who may not be aware of our show